Oct. 7, 2012

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Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly-

COACH KELLY: When they ran out of the tunnel it was a pretty exciting atmosphere. They are used to Notre Dame Stadium and 81,000 but the 60 plus thousand that were here tonight made for a great atmosphere here in Chicago. So again, from our standpoint, our football team really fed off that energy. Again, I think it’s pretty simple, you guys were there, we controlled the line of scrimmage, played physical today.

And defensively, after we settled down to the speed of the game, limited a very good offense to not give up we didn’t give up the big plays, and certainly we got a couple of breaks early on. I thought we adjusted well to the speed of the game after the first quarter, and again, we have now held University of Miami, Michigan, and Michigan State to not scoring a touchdown, and that’s an incredible feat for our defense.

I thought Everett grew up today. He did some really good things throwing the football for us. Managed some pressure situations very well. And he had his best week of practice. You know, that’s why I named him starter on Thursday, based upon the way he prepared; it was his best week of preparation and we saw that on Saturday. So with that, I’ll open up to questions.

Q. Looked like you found something on the right side in the second half, was that an adjustment or did it just kind of go that way in the running game?

COACH KELLY: There were a couple of factors there obviously, who is on the right side. We made sure that we ran the ball between those two guys, who are outstanding and felt like they could control the line of scrimmage. And we used some formations to get some good matchups. They were rotating their coverage to Eifert quite a bit and again, it opened up a lot of things for us in the running game.

Q. When did you make the decision to suspend Everett briefly, was that just a Friday team meeting type thing or what happened there?

COACH KELLY: Our team rules are pretty simple as it relates to being on time. It wasn’t a big thing in terms of a disciplinary approach. But we have high standards and we hold all of our players to that standards.

Q. What did you want them to take away from the experience?

COACH KELLY: I want our guys to be accountable. He was accountable. He knew that he’s got to do a better job of communicating. Look, he was meeting with a professor and he lost track of time, and he knows he’s got to communicate with us and do a better job of that.

But he took full responsibility for it, accountability for it; I thought he came in and played very well. I was proud of him today.

Q. On the field, the impact of incorporating the run game a little bit more, what do you think that did to Miami’s defense and how much do you think that opens up your offense?

COACH KELLY: Well, as I said, I probably said this last week, but we really took a hard look at where we were offensively and knew that we had to open up the offense formationally, as well as you know, the zone read game, which obviously helps us quite a bit and focus in on the run game.

Q. Early on, they got behind your defense a couple of times, and had drops. What was the adjustment, specifically?

COACH KELLY: Just the speed of the game, being off a week, not really getting the opportunity to duplicate that kind of team speed.

We were in position, but we didn’t finish the play. We were in very good position, I think they felt like, hey, we are in good position and then that burst at the end; and then they saw it, we made it pretty clear to them that they had to pick up their pace and they did a good job the second quarter of moving through the rest of the game.

Q. You’re a big time of possession guy

COACH KELLY: I am on these days.

Q. Going into the game, did you feel one of these games that time of possession is more important than normal?

COACH KELLY: Clearly, we felt like we found a way to run the football today and our game plan was situated on running the football, which equals time of possession for us. We felt like if we could keep them from getting the big plays, and we could run the football, that was going on our recipe for success.

Q. And going to Cierre Wood in the third quarter, I think he had 15 or 16 touches. Did you tell him at half time

COACH KELLY: You know how we commented on this before. We go with the guy that’s running well. He did a great job on one of his runs where he showed great patience, stepped on the heals of the guard and bent it back. He had not done that this year.

And he, too, had a great week of practice, preparing himself to do what we’ve asked him to do, and we saw that kind of success. A lot more patience with our backs, letting our O line get on their blocks, and obviously it paid big dividends for us today.

Q. A lot more George and less Theo in the second half, did anything happen?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, he had a bruised elbow, and he probably could have carried with his left arm but we were running well with those two guys and George had just did a couple in there. So there was really no reason to throw a guy in there that had an elbow bruise.

So we felt like it was prudent to just play those two guys.

Q. How badly did Golson need a game like this after Michigan and Northwestern?

COACH KELLY: Well, it was important for me after disciplining him to get him back in the game right away; to let him know that I had trust in him, and that I believed in him.

So I think that helped him to go in and be relaxed and feel like, hey, I’ve got the head coach’s support here, even though I goofed up, he’s going to put me right back in the game. And I think that really helped his confidence and then he backed it up with this play.

Q. He talked a couple of days ago about developing patience in the run game. Was that the biggest difference to let you guys get going today?

COACH KELLY: There’s a number of different things. I thought that formationally, we put him in some very difficult positions based upon the way they play. They like to spin a safety down in particular; they were doubling Eifert up quite a bit, and opened up the running game for us.

You know, Tyler, he only got two catches but he impacts our offense incredibly. They are paying a lot of attention to him and it’s opened up a lot of things. So formationally, I think our backs ran well and I think we blocked it very well up front.

Q. And Miami helped out with a few key penalties in big situations.

COACH KELLY: Well, I think cumulatively, time of possession was huge. I’m just looking down here right now in terms of penalties, you know, they had nine penalties that put us in a position to score more points in the red zone.

Q. Can you just follow up on the defense, the secondary after all Miami had done coming in

COACH KELLY: You couldn’t script it any better. You have some young players out there. I thought KeiVarae Russell tackled soundly today. We worked hard on his skill level increasing as it relates to tackling, one of the lost arts that seems to be out there is tackling. Coach Diaco did a great job with the tackling circuit this week.

I think it just continues to build confidence in Matthias Farley. It was big for the confidence level but also they believe in themselves, and that’s a good thing when you are moving into the next week with Stanford.

Q. Wood’s run that you referred to, was that the 37 yard run in the third quarter or was that a different run?

COACH KELLY: It was the 37 yard in the third quarter.

Q. In terms of Everett running the football, was it more so the playbook opened up for him or he was just able to make those reads today?

COACH KELLY: No, we had not run any zone read before. We were not comfortable going into that part of playbook. He’s done a better job with it. I feel more confident in doing that with him. He’s got to take care of the football and put the ball on the ground, but you know, again, that’s the next step for us. We talked about our offense needed to step up and start to elevate its play, and today was a player, in particular, a group, and then some plays that all came together in a very good fashion for us.